September 22, 2021, Alex Zorn, Skilled Nursing News - Of 1,183 nursing home and assisted living providers surveyed by the American Health Care Association and National Center of Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), nearly every nursing home is currently asking staff to work overtime or extra shifts and more than half are limiting new admissions due to staffing shortages.
While the long-term ramifications of the current shortage remain to be seen, 78% of the nursing homes surveyed admitted to being concerned about having to shut down their facility due to workforce challenges with 35% of that group describing themselves as “very concerned.”
The survey also showed that 86% of nursing homes said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months, with 57% of that group describing it as “much worse.”
“Too many facilities are struggling to hire and retain staff that are needed to serve millions of vulnerable residents,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said in the press release. “Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care and that begins with providing resources to address workforce challenges.”
Parkinson believes that when facilities have the means to offer competitive wages and training programs, workers will follow.
However, without help from Congress and state legislators, boosting the industry’s workforce will not be possible, he said.
Restricting admissions has become an increasingly widely used strategy for nursing homes to handle staffing shortages with 58% of nursing homes admitting to limiting admissions due to staffing shortages, according to the survey.
Parkinson said in the press release that he felt the Care For Our Seniors Act would be an “appropriate vehicle” for Congress to fund a long-term solution to addressing chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
“Congress has the opportunity right now, through budget reconciliation, to include meaningful investments in long term care, which will help address key staffing challenges,” he added. “We cannot allow facilities to close because of these challenges.”